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Could it be that there is an emerging ‘Silicon Valley’ in the Caribbean and few know it?
According to Silicon Caribe’s Ingrid Riley, there are a number of Caribbean Startups to Watch in 2015, thanks to bootstrapping entrepreneurs who “squeezed a lot out of DSL Internet speeds, and without the help of accelerators, hubs or incubators, used primarily online advertising and affiliate marketing to make money.”
The Top Caribbean Startups to Watch in 2015 as released by Silicon Caribe.com are:
Agrocentral | Jamaica (eAGriculture)
AgroCentral is Jamaica’s first digital agricultural clearing house utilizing Web to SMS/SMS to Web technology to connect small farmers and businesses. Businesses have the ability to source large amounts of crops directly from farmers and farmers are able to sell their available produce directly to businesses. AgroCentral removes the middleman who drives up prices and cuts the suppliers out of their share of the profit. AgroCentral is a product of the first Startup Weekend Jamaica event in 2013. They have two co-founders and one of them is a woman.
Antuilla | Jamaica (Travel Search )
A travel search engine to make vacation experiences searchable in ways that match up to the imagination and sophistication of today’s travelers. The search criteria include the purpose of trip, special interests and budget. The search results are visual and in the context of the purpose of trip. They cut through all the clutter by summarizing content while surfacing the relevant information that helps you make a decision. They are currently in the Government-led accelerator StartUp Jamaica.
Auto Data | Jamaica + Belize (Auto Data)
Auto Data is the Caribbean’s first online vehicle history and valuation service. The car history provides a cost-effective solution to determining the fitness and all-round state of any motor vehicle. It is Jamaica’s equivalent to the American online vehicle history service, known as CARFAX. The eHistory compiles its data from the consolidated databases of Jamaica’s leading motor valuators, assessors and vehicle mechanics. Its platform can boast of having access to over one million records covering up to 90 per cent of the vehicles in Jamaica, including those imported from the United States. It is based in Jamaica and Belize.
CaribWatch | Jamaica (Mobile)
Want to monitor disasters in the Caribbean? There’s an app for that. CaribWatch is a Caribbean emergency alerts and disaster monitoring app. It is a system for sharing crisis information in the Caribbean via a free smartphone application and the supporting use of social media. Its purpose is to enable people throughout the Caribbean & its Diaspora, to help each other in times of crisis, by providing a hub for information and a focal point for relief efforts. It’s founded and run by a Jamaican woman.
CamsFormer | Jamaica + USA (Camera Device)
CamsFormer, just made high speed photography easy and wireless! CamsFormer technology is the worlds first to combine many different technologies in to a single easy to use device, that is controlled wirelessly using a smart phone, tablet, or computer. CamsFormers technology helps photographers be more creative, by using its internal sensors to trigger an everyday camera to take great pictures that are almost impossible using normal human reflexes. The hardware itself uses embedded Linux operating system, with the camera application running on the hardware. It generates its own wireless WiFi network (like a wireless router) so that the iPhone and iPad can connect to it to control the camera through it and the USB port. This Startup with a Jamaican co-founding team is based in USA and just raised 600% over its funding goal on Kickstarter.com
CrimeBot | Jamaica (Mobile)
CrimeBot is a mobile app focused on crime fighting. It was developed to involve the public in alerting incidences of crime and identifying crime hotspot areas. CrimeBot focuses on anonymous reporting along with user confirmation feedback to verify incoming reports. In so doing, it maps crime hotspots around any specific community or country. With this information, users can view crime directly around them as well as report crimes and search other locations for crimes. The application won top app among 160 entries from the region at the Digital Jam 3.0 Crimebot has 4 Co-founders on their team.
CropGuard | Barbados (Mobile)
CropGuard is an agriculture app that seeks to enhance food security by helping farmers to protect their crops through pest diagnosis, monitoring and control. They won 2nd prize in the Agrigack Talent Caribbean competition and they are now seeking to launch shortly.
ComeSeeTV | Dominica (Online Media)
ComeSeeTV is the Caribbean’s largest portal for streaming original content. Over 11 million people annually access content created by churches, carnivals, governments and entrepreneurs. Clients can create free content, On Demand or Live Stream Pay Per View events.
Edufocal | Jamaica (eLearning)
EduFocal is an innovative social learning platform that combines study with play. It’s the first tool of its kind created for students at the primary and secondary level in the Caribbean. The mission is to challenge the status quo; changing the way students interact with students and the way students interact with teachers. Initially the platform has focused on students taking the Caribbean CXC & GSAT examinations, but is also expanding to SATs. It is a friendly online community where students have fun while learning. It is interactive, user-friendly, and students can earn rewards. The founder is a 24 year old entrepreneur and it was both bootstrapped and Angel funded.
EZLearner | Barbados (eLearning)
EZLearner is an online learning platform that helps students to become confident learners, achieve better grades, and avoid unforgiving learning pitfalls. The platform focuses on helping students to improve literacy, reading, creative writing & problem solving. They are currently expanding their team and moving into regional market expansion.
eVisa (MOVA) | Montserrat (Web App)
eVisa (MOVA) is electronic visa application system which provides approval on requests within 24 hours. It also allows the government to collect revenue directly via credit card payments and eliminates the current practices of using consulates in various parts of the world which can take weeks and also does not provide local income. This product is from Lavabits a software development firm based in Montserrat.
F1RST.com | Trinidad and Tobago (Online Media)
F1RST.com is an online media startup with a web and mobile app that connects you to Caribbean experiences you LOVE and NEED – from Caribbean Food, Shopping & Nightlife, to big Deals & Discounts. It helps people navigate the Caribbean. So if you want to get information about any place, business, a doubles vendor in Trinidad to a pan chicken vendor in Jamaica, from a nearby gas station to your favourite local restaurant, you can use the app for that.
grik.ly | Jamaica (Mobile/Web App for Events)
Grikly is an event planning, management and analytics service that used Bluetooth Smart and iBeacons at its core to enable booth holders to gauge foot traffic, give deals to attendees, frictionlessly collect details of attendees and the ability to store collected details in their CRM of choice. Event attendees can also network, frictionlessly, with fellow attendees, booth holders and add context to each individual and company they interact with. Grikly is the first product from the Startup Xormis. They have two co-founders and are based in Jamaica.
Jungle Escape | Jamaica (Mobile Gaming)
Jungle Escape is a mobile gaming app for Windows Phone. The free app has been downloaded over 200,000 downloads since its launch. It was started by two university students who built the app between school and work. This gaming app was rolled out as a minimum viability product for first-time users, similar to a demo product.
M-Survey | Barbados + Kenya (Mobile Survey)
mSurvey is a mobile survey platform driving decision-making for businesses across the continent of Africa and the Caribbean. mSurvey works with some well-known brands across the world; reducing churn, improving customer service, and increasing their Net Promoter Score. The Startup also seeks to solve the problem of customer service to market research with a technology and team that have deep local reach. MSurvey has 3 co-founders and is lead by an entrepreneur of Caribbean descent(Barbados) and is based in Nairobi, Kenya as well as Trinidad and Tobago.
Medirevu | Barbados (eHealth)
MediRevu is a healthcare technology company focused on improving healthcare through closer doctor-patient relationship. The MediRevu mobile health app empowers doctors and caretakers to easily manage patients between visits by tracking compliance with doctor instructions regarding diet, exercise and medication instructions. Patients use the free mobile app to access the doctor diagnosis and treatment instructions as well as automatic reminders which help them stay on-track. Founder is Barbadian and they just got secured their seed funding from Jordan based accelerator, Oasis 500.
Node420 | Jamaica (Internet of Things)
Node420 is an Internet of Things solution for the Agricultural sector. It is a network of ‘Nodes’ which provide real-time updates to farmers on the status of their crops. This system, as a result, can provide realtime weather to other farmers in the area and predictive weather analysis for more accurate weather forecasts. Node420s system also provides recommendations per crop as to its optimal growing conditions and can be used to detect pests and diseases (excess water saturation may be indicative of root rot). The startup also recently won the first Agrihack Talent Caribbean competition.
On the Ground News Report | Jamaica (Online Media)
OGNR is the Caribbean’s largest citizen powered news aggregator and citizen reporting website. It is currently reinventing its new site since the servers crashed via the coverage of the Kartel Trial Case. The startup has had a healthy social media following on Facebook and Twitter, it has 5 co-founders.
SmartPassant™ (EPsp) | Jamaica + USA (Internet of Things)
SmartPassant™, a RFID hardware solution capable of relaying information about assets within a shared space. This information is processed to identify and track assets as they pass through supply chains. Using this information, along with several ancillary sources (e.g.,historical information), SmartPassant can actively make recommendations as businesses seek to increase efficiencies in their operations. SmartPassant is first product from EnPassant™, a Internet of Things (IoT) technology company based in Jamaica and the USA. They build the devices that collate information about the environment in which they are placed while providing the facility to control them remotely. With a compelling and working prototype, the product (including software) is expected to be in market by the end of 2015.
StartupRobot | Jamaica (Company Registration)
StartUpRobot is a platform that makes it easier for business people to incorporate companies. They use shorter, simpler forms and do the runaround making it easy for you to incorporate a business in Jamaica. Company registration is a major pain point in Jamaica and the Caribbean and in many cases online registration does not exist. StartUpRobot has a team of four co-founders and was got seed funding from Jamaican and American Angel investors.
TheVineList | Jamaica (Social Shopping)
The VineList is a Social Shopping App – a service that brings the merchants/stores to you instead of having you search around for the things you want to buy. Simply post to the #thevinelist the products you want to purchase and we will handle the rest to let you know the various stores around you that sells your product. VineList is currently part of the Government-led Startup Jamaica Accelerator.
NotesMaster | Jamaica and UK (eLearning)
Notesmaster is an e-learning platform that enables students and educators, from different countries, to learn and share materials, using familiar syllabus frameworks that reflect their own curriculum. Notesmaster operates in the Caribbean and African markets. The founder is Jamaican.
myCarnivalBands | Trinidad and Tobago (eCommerce)
myCarnivalBands.com is where you can access and buy the hottest premium Carnival Bands and accessories to make your experience an unforgettable one, in whichever Carnival you choose – Trinidad, Tobago, Barbados, Miami, Toronto, Notting Hill, Brazil and a host of other places are available for you to enjoy this incredible celebration in all its different forms. This startup has a female founder.
Talypso | Montserrat (Voting Software)
Talypso is a voting software which cuts the wait time for results at cultural competitions such as calypso, soca and pageants. It gives real time information on a leader board as the show progresses and results can be announced within 20 minutes of the competitions ending. The team have also developed a Government document system which allows various departments to work on the same project and share documents while maintaining security. Talypso is a product of a Software startup Rovika, ran by two young men.
10PoundPledge | Jamaica (Online Fitness)
What is 10 Pound Pledge? It’s an online in-home workout & nutrition programme if you want to lose 10 pounds in 5 weeks with fitness coach and sports nutritionist Kamila McDonald. The Online fitness Startup has 3 co-founders.
The list of startups, according to Riley, was chosen through a process of submissions by on-the-ground Caribbean tech community leaders, innovation hub managers and startup experts including Nerissa Golden (Entrepreneur/Startup Coach), Matthew McNaughton(Hub Founder), Byron Gibson ( Entrepreneur & Hub Founder), McKenzie Slaughter (Entrepreneur, Investor), Bevil Wooding (Internet Consultant and Gerard Thomas (Hub Founder).
‘Sun, Sea and Startups -The Caribbean Startup Report,’ is set to be released on Thursday January 29th, 2015 while the DevCa Open Data Conference is set for February 5th &6th, 2015 and Kingston BETA, Jamaica’s Tech Community Meetup and Pitch event, for Thursday February 26th.
Ingrid Riley is the Executive Director of ConnectiMass, an 8 year old social enterprise based in Jamaica that is focused on Inspiring, ConnectiMass and Training Young People and Women in the Caribbean to become Tech Entrepreneurs through Events and Digital media content. SiliconCaribe.com – the Caribbean Tech Blog is the media property of ConnectiMass. To connect email firstname.lastname@example.org.